Baseball: History brings Randazzo and Morton to meet on the mound
NORWALK—The bloodlines flow from fathers to sons, but the ties are actually so much deeper.
Much of the FCIAC will see Fairfield Ludlowe posting a 7-5 league victory over Brien McMahon on Wednesday afternoon at Pride Field and not think much more about it.
On the pitcher’s mound, though, the showdown between the Falcons’ Mike Randazzo, a senior lefty, and McMahon sophomore right-hander Korey Morton was a lot more personal.
It was history sneaking into the 21st century, telling a story of two dads — once archrivals, later college teammates — converging again as their sons went head-to-head in the city both call home.
Randazzo is the son of former Norwalk High baseball star Mike Randazzo, who took his outfield prowess to Seton Hall University and had a cup of coffee in the minor leagues.
Morton is the son of former Brien McMahon star pitcher Kevin Morton, who took his pitching arm to Seton Hall and later played one season of major league baseball with the Boston Red Sox.
Inside those shadows, the sons found their own spotlight as the Falcons edged the Senators.
“I know Korey very well,” said Randazzo, who scattered six hits in six-plus innings. “I’ve known him for a long time. It was just another game, but I talked to my dad about it. I know he was hoping for a 1-0 game. It’s hard to root against them, but we needed the win today.”
It was Ludlowe’s first win in five games this season, but credit the Morton family in part for that win.
Kevin Morton, after all, is Randazzo’s private pitching coach.
“I train Mike’s kid and Mike works out with my son on his outfield, so it’s exciting,” Kevin Morton said. “As my friend over there says, we’re just going through this journey where our kids compete. At the end of the day, they’re both great kids and we’ve taught them how to play the game right, to respect teammates and opponents.”
There was a lot of respect for Randazzo from Korey Morton postgame, too. In addition to their fathers’ longtime friendship, the sons train together at Integrated Sports Training (IST) in Norwalk.
“It was pretty fun to be out there competing,” Korey Morton said. “We work out together, so I’ve seen him a lot and know him pretty well. I thought he hit his spots today really well and his fielders really backed him up today, too.”
Randazzo threw 98 pitches before being lifted for a relief pitcher in the bottom of the seventh, but by then the Falcons were up 7-3.
As such, Mike Randazzo Sr.’s hopes for a 1-0 game didn’t come to fruition.
“It’s funny, to be honest,” the elder Randazzo said. “Growing up, we never thought anything like this would happen. You just go out and compete and hope for a 1-0 game and then we’ll go out for beers after.”
After being set down 1-2-3 in the first, the Falcons’ offense erupted.
Jack Knisely’s solo home run got things going for Ludlowe, who added a second run thanks to a couple of McMahon errors to put the Falcons up 2-1.
From there the team never looked back.
John McMillan drove in two runs with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly while Greg Calabrese had a two-run home run. Derek Tallman and Brian Howell had two hits apiece, too.
“We had dug ourselves a hole with those first four games,” Ludlowe coach Mike Francese said. “But today it was a great effort from the guys. I’m confident these guys can hit. We just have to do it when the opportunities present themselves.”
After putting together single runs in the first (James Stefanowicz’s RBI double), second (Morton’s sac fly) and fourth (Shane Popkins’ RBI single), the Senators still trailed 7-3 entering the bottom of the seventh.
After chasing Randazzo with Pete Meyerson’s leadoff triple, Chris Ehlers and Brian Ehlers both had RBI base hits to cut the gap with 7-5 with the bases loaded.
The Senators were unable to come up with the big two-out hit, however.
“Whenever you can bring the tying or winning run to the plate in the last inning, you know it’s a game,” McMahon coach John Cross said. “Ludlowe came out swinging the bats today, but my kids battled.”
Cooper Grillo had two singles and two walks to lead the offense for McMahon, which slipped to 3-2.
LUDLOWE 7, McMAHON 5
LUDLOWE 020 311 0—7 10 0
McMAHON 110 100 2—5 8 2
Records: Ludlowe 1-4, McMahon 3-2; Batteries: FL—Mike Randazzo, Jacob Schwarzstein (7) and Flink; BM-Korey Morton, Frank Greco (5) and Peter Meyerson.